A village with a big story
Little Holland cottages at top of Green no longer there
Claypits Pond with Horses 1905
Long Melford Coronation fancy dress competition at the British Legion in Cordell road1953
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Selected Biographies

Debenham, Richard Sidney Ÿ Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 29.12.1881.  Parent: Naomi Debenham (Domestic Servant) [married Charles North in 1888].  Home: Recorded as Sidney Debenham boarding with Elizabeth Mott in Hall Street, Long Melford (1891), Cock and Bell Lane, Long Melford (1901), 28 Dumont Road, Stoke Newington, London (1911), 4 Chalmers Terrace, Victoria Road, Stoke Newington [1914], 14 Ingleton Road, Tottenham, Middlesex (1939), 13 Back Lane, Long Melford [1946].  Occupation: Boots at Hotel (1901), Potman (1911), Town Carman [1914], Tailor’s Presser (1939).  Married: Kate Agnes French in 1904.  Service Record: Richard enlisted on 19.10.1914 as Driver, later Bdr.16033 with ‘D’ Battery, XC Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, posted to France from 20.7.1915.  On 30.8.1916 Bombardier Debenham transferred to ‘C’ Battery, XCII [Howitzer] Brigade, RFA, part of 20th [Light] Division, seeing action during the Somme Offensive of 1916 and the Third Battles of Ypres the following year.  He received a gunshot to his right hand also suffering a fracture to his left femur on 9.7.1918, being issued with a Silver War Badge and discharged due to wounds in June 1919.  Died: Colchester, Essex on 30.4.1946.[1]

Debenham, Walter Ÿ Born: Hartest, Suffolk on 27.3.1881.  Parents: William Debenham (Butcher) and Sophia [nee Cook].  Family Connections: Brother to William James Debenham [b1878].  Home: Hatch Lane, Hartest, Suffolk (1891), Rotten Row, Long Melford (1901), Station Road, Long Melford (1911 to 1939).  Occupation: Cowman (1901), Labourer [1903], Miller’s Carman (1911), Miller’s Labourer (1939).  Married: Lily Cutts in 1907.  Service Record: Walter was a member of ‘C’ Company, 2nd [Volunteer] Battalion, Suffolk Regiment when he enlisted in 1903 as Gnr.2890 with the Suffolk Royal Garrison Artillery Militia, receiving his discharge in 1905 being considered ‘medically unfit’.  It is not known if he saw service during the First World War as no definitive record has been found.  Died: Sudbury, Suffolk in 1965.[2]

Debenham, William James Ÿ Born: Hartest, Suffolk on 31.8.1878.  Parents: William Debenham (Butcher) and Sophia [nee Cook].  Family Connections: Brother to Walter Debenham [b1881]; also, brother-in-law of David Border [b1881], Arthur Starling Border [b1892] and George Frederick Border [b1895].  Home: North End, Hartest, Suffolk (1881), Hatch Lane, Hartest (1891), Military Barracks in Egypt (1911), Southgate Street, Long Melford [1919], St Marys, Long Melford (1939).  Occupation: Labourer [1896], Soldier (1911), General Labourer (1939).  Married: Clara Border in 1919.  Service Record: William enlisted in 1896 as Pte.4477 in 1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, stationed in India from 1898 to 1907, Egypt from 1911 to 1914 and Sudan in 1914.  In the First World War he was posted to the Western Front on the Ypres Salient from 16.1.1915 to 20.10.1915 as part of 84th Brigade, 28th Division.  During this period Private Debenham’s unit fought two bloody actions, the Battles of Frenzberg Ridge on 8.5.1915 and Bellewaarde Ridge on 24.5.1915.  In the first action the Battalion faced a devastating bombardment of high explosive and poison gas shells, losing over 400 men either killed or wounded, and on the second losing 140 men in a failed attack on Bellewaarde Farm.  On 21.10.1915 1st Suffolk was transferred to Salonika as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.  Here it was engaged in a three-year campaign against Bulgaria until that country requested an armistice at the end of September 1918.  Debenham returned with his battalion to England in February and was discharged in April 1919.[3]

Notes – [1] Date of birth from the Baptism Register 5.2.1882, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford.  For details of 15th and 92nd Brigades’ movements see War Diaries [WO 95/2105/5] and [WO 95/2105/3].  See also his Soldiers’ Documents, First World War ‘Burnt Documents’ [WO 363], Service Medal and Award Rolls, First World War, Silver War Badge [WO 329] record [ref: B241372], Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372].  Date of death from the National Probate Calendar.  [2] Date of birth from 1939 Register for Long Melford.  See also his Chelsea Hospital British Army Service Record [WO 97] up to 1905.  [3] Date of birth from 1939 Register for Long Melford.  For details of 1st Suffolk’s actions in Flanders War Diary [WO 95/2277/3] and Murphy, Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. R. The History of the Suffolk Regiment 1914-1927 [London: Hutchinson and Co, 1928], pp.76-80; for details of the battalions’ actions and travails on the Salonika Front see War Diary [WO 95/4916] and Murphy, pp.155-164 and 303-310.  See also his Soldiers’ Documents and Pension Claims, First World War [WO 364], Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372].

Research by David Gevaux MA © 2022

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